Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 16 (1901)


Ms 187, 1901

The Physician's Opportunities and Privileges By Mrs. E. G. White.


[Typed] Oct. 6, 1901

Previously unpublished.

In every sense of the word the Christian physician is to be an evangelist. He is to have a remedy for the sin-sick soul as well as for the diseased body. By faith in Christ he is to be to the sick a messenger of mercy. As he uses the simple remedies which God has provided for the relief of physical suffering, he is to speak of Christ's power to heal the maladies of the soul. 16LtMs, Ms 187, 1901, par. 1

In their work of dealing with disease and death, physicians are in danger of losing sight of the solemn realities regarding the future of the soul. In their earnest, feverish anxiety to avert the peril of the body, they are in danger of forgetting the peril of the soul. Physicians, be on your guard; for at the judgment seat of Christ, you must meet those at whose deathbed you now stand. 16LtMs, Ms 187, 1901, par. 2

If anyone should live in close communion with the Saviour, it is the physician, because the sick and suffering with whom they deal need the help which Christ alone can give. They need prayers indicted by his Spirit. The afflicted one leaves himself to the wisdom and mercy of the physicians, whose skill and faithfulness may be his only hope. Let the physician, then, be a faithful steward of the grace of God, a guardian of the soul as well as of the body. 16LtMs, Ms 187, 1901, par. 3

The physician, who has received wisdom from above, who knows that Christ is his personal Saviour, because he has himself been led to the Refuge, knows how to deal with the trembling, guilty, sin-sick souls who turn to him for help. He can respond to the inquiry, “What must I do to be saved?” [Acts 16:30.] He can tell the story of the Redeemer's love. He can speak savingly of the power of repentance and faith in Christ. As he stands by the bedside of the sick, striving to speak words that will be helpful to the sufferer, the Lord will work with him and through him. As the mind of the sufferer is fastened on the mighty Healer, he understands what it means to have the peace of Christ; and the melody of spiritual health and joy is used as the helping hand of God in restoring the health of the body. 16LtMs, Ms 187, 1901, par. 4

The physician has precious opportunities of impressing minds with the soul's great need. He is to bring from the treasure-house of the heart things new and old, speaking here and there the words of comfort and instruction that are longed for and expected. The failure to speak these words will cause much disappointment. And not only should the physician give instruction from the word of God, line upon line, precept upon precept; he should moisten this instruction with his tears and make it strong with his prayers, that souls may be saved from death. 16LtMs, Ms 187, 1901, par. 5

The solemn scenes of the deathbed require the physician to be as far as possible removed from the secular duties which others can perform. The mind of the physician should be continually under the influence of the Spirit of God, that he may be able to speak in season the words that will awaken faith. No unnecessary burdens should be laid on him. He should be released from all cares not essential for him to bear that he may have time to become acquainted with the spiritual needs of his patients. Constantly he is to sow the seeds of truth, not presenting doctrinal subjects, but speaking of the love of the sin-pardoning Saviour. 16LtMs, Ms 187, 1901, par. 6

No word of creed or controversy is to be spoken at the bedside of the dying. Point to the Saviour who is willing to receive all who come to him in faith. There are those who have a genuine sickbed repentance. All should be done that can be done for the spiritual welfare of the dying, with a keen sense of what is appropriate when a soul is hovering between life and death. 16LtMs, Ms 187, 1901, par. 7

The physician should never lead his patients to fix their attention on him. He is to teach them to grasp with the trembling hand of faith the outstretched hand of the Saviour. Then the mind will be illuminated with the light radiating from the Sun of Righteousness. What physicians attempt to do, Christ did in deed and in truth. They try to save life. He is life itself. 16LtMs, Ms 187, 1901, par. 8

The physician's effort to lead the minds of his patents to healthy action must be free from all human enchantment. It must not grovel to humanity, but soar aloft to the spiritual, taking hold of the things of eternity. 16LtMs, Ms 187, 1901, par. 9

When it is possible, the physician should occasionally have a season of rest, escaping from the heavy pressure upon him. The work of a sensitive evangelist-physician is a tax upon his strength of which others know little. 16LtMs, Ms 187, 1901, par. 10

Great wisdom should be shown in regard to criticizing the physician; for criticism places an unnecessary burden on his mind. He has heavy cares and he needs the sympathy of those connected with him in the work. He is to be sustained by prayer. The realization that he is appreciated will give him hope and courage. 16LtMs, Ms 187, 1901, par. 11

The intelligent Christian physician has an increasing realization of the connection between sin and disease. He is constantly striving to perfect his knowledge of the relation between cause and effect. He sees the necessity of thoroughly educating and training those who are taking the nurses’ course. He will teach them to be strictly temperate in all things, because carelessness in regard to the laws of health—the cause of most of the disease in our world—is inexcusable in those set apart to minister to others and teach them how to live. A failure to give the living machinery proper care is an insult to the Creator. 16LtMs, Ms 187, 1901, par. 12

There are divinely-appointed rules which, if observed, will keep human beings from disease and premature death. When a physician sees that the ailment which has taken hold of the body is the result of improper eating and drinking, yet neglects to tell the patient that his suffering is caused by a wrong course of action, he is doing the human brotherhood an injury. Present the matter tenderly, but never keep silent as to the cause of the affliction. 16LtMs, Ms 187, 1901, par. 13

Drunkards, maniacs, those who are given over to licentiousness, all appeal to the physician to declare clearly and distinctly that suffering is the consequence of sin. How can we know these things, and not be more decidedly in earnest in striving to counteract the cause which produces the effect? Seeing the continual conflict with pain, constantly laboring to alleviate suffering, can our physicians hold their peace? Can they refrain from lifting the voice in warning? Are they benevolent and merciful if they neglect to prescribe strict temperance as a remedy for disease? 16LtMs, Ms 187, 1901, par. 14

Physicians, study the warning which Paul gave to the Romans: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world, but be ye conformed, by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” [Romans 12:1, 2.] 16LtMs, Ms 187, 1901, par. 15